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UCONNMike
12-10-2004, 11:39
I had heard a rumor from some thru-hikers I met last summer that you can get out of paying things like car insurance and cell phone bills. I really want to aviod having to pay for this tuff while I'm hiking for 4-5 months. Anyone have any idea how to beat the sytem?

The Solemates
12-10-2004, 11:44
Yea, we threw away our phones because we were out of our contract. We always pay off our credit card bills in full each month so we didnt have that to contend with. We were moving to another location after the trail, so we did not renew our lease on the apartment (if you have a house that is a problem). Both cars were already all paid for. We completely cancelled our car insurance and just picked up a new company when we returned from the trail. We obtained new short-term medical insurance for the trail and then were put on our employee insurance after the trail. So basically we canceled everything. This was easy for us to do since we are young and have no family to support, etc. But you are in the same boat so it shouldnt be that big of a problem. Good luck.

Alligator
12-10-2004, 11:48
Bear in mind that if you cancel your car insurance, you may have a very hefty price to pay when you return due to not being insured for 4-6 months. You might want to discuss this with a reliable agent. There may be alternatives such as reducing coverage drastically for the period of your hike.

tanichols
12-10-2004, 11:51
And if you have any student loans you should be able to get a deferment for 6 months if you haven't applied for one before.

I think it gets harder to get approved for one if you've been approved before, but I have never had to defer so I take it that it should be easy to do.

After some research reasons for defermentthat are acceptable are:
In school (no time limit)
Unemployment (up to 36 months)
Economic hardship (up to 36 months)
Graduate fellowship (no time limit)
Rehabilitation training (no time limit)

I wonder if most hikers apply under Unemployment or Economic hardship classification? Hmmm...

The Solemates
12-10-2004, 11:56
We didnt have any student loans to deal with because we were fortunate enough to have parents that helped pay for school.

And yes, for the most part you can expect to pay a little more without proof of insurance for the past 6 months. However, this is still cheaper than paying insurance for those 6 months. We were lucky enough to find an insurance company that didnt ask those questions. They didnt ask; we didnt tell. I figured they would run a check on that, but it never happened. If we have to file a claim, it may come up. Until then, I am not worrying about it.

UCONNMike
12-10-2004, 11:58
Oh, ok...but can't you make the arguement that going on a thur-hike should get you the same benifits as say, if you traveled abroad for a semester, dont insurance and cell companies make exceptions for that kinda stuff?

tanichols
12-10-2004, 12:00
I'll be canning my car insurance for my hike, depending on the state you're in some are really nitpicky about cars and insurance even if they aren't being used. Best bet is as long as its on "private" property and its uninsured you're safe.

The house in which I live has onstreet parking, so I've gotta take my car out to a relatives house or something and park it on private property where people won't bother it and it doesn't risk being hit or something.

Midway Sam
12-10-2004, 12:07
Alligator is correct if your state requires continuous coverage. Underwriting and rating standards appropriately take into consideration continuous insurance coverage of applicants. A lenghty lapse in automobile coverage will cause you to be labeled "high risk" and will cause your insurance rates to skyrocket. However, some insurance companies allow you to declare your auto "withdrawn from use". As always, pay your agent a visit and discuss it with them.

P.S. A quick check returned some information that leads me to believe that a lapse of coverage in CT will indeed cause you to be considered high risk.

Alligator
12-10-2004, 12:07
We didnt have any student loans to deal with because we were fortunate enough to have parents that helped pay for school.

And yes, for the most part you can expect to pay a little more without proof of insurance for the past 6 months. However, this is still cheaper than paying insurance for those 6 months. We were lucky enough to find an insurance company that didnt ask those questions. They didnt ask; we didnt tell. I figured they would run a check on that, but it never happened. If we have to file a claim, it may come up. Until then, I am not worrying about it.
YMMV depending on your prior record, age, marital status, and current state. It's an important financial matter that one should not hope to get "lucky" with. It would be wise to discuss it with a reliable agent.

Footslogger
12-10-2004, 12:15
I had heard a rumor from some thru-hikers I met last summer that you can get out of paying things like car insurance and cell phone bills. I really want to aviod having to pay for this tuff while I'm hiking for 4-5 months. Anyone have any idea how to beat the sytem?====================================
Can't speak for the rest of your bills but the cell phone one might be doable. I put my cell phone on a 6month suspended service deal with Cingular ( I imagine all carriers have similar packages). It was a flat rate for the 6 months that I paid all up front. That way I kept my cell number. My hike ran over 6 months so I contacted Cingular and they gave me a 2 month extension on that service. The first time I used the phone when I got back home the full service (and billing) was reactivated.

Of course ...that assumes you're NOT taking your cell phone on the trail.

'Slogger
AT 2003

c.coyle
12-10-2004, 12:20
I had heard a rumor from some thru-hikers I met last summer that you can get out of paying things like car insurance and cell phone bills. I really want to aviod having to pay for this tuff while I'm hiking for 4-5 months. Anyone have any idea how to beat the sytem?

"Beat the system"? You mean cheat? You mean shirk you're obligations and make creditors go without what's rightfully their's while you take a 6 month vacation?

BTW, in some states, it's against the law to have an uninsured vehicle registered in your name, even if it's up on blocks and in storage.

In most states, it's against the law to obtain someone else's services (such as cell phone service), intending not to pay for them.

How about saving up the money necessary to pay your bills and then appointing a trusted friend or relative "power of attorney" to pay your bills while you're gone? :-?

Or, you could just skip on tabs at restaurants along the way.

Frosty
12-10-2004, 12:24
We completely cancelled our car insurance You can't do this in some states. If a car is registered, it must be insured. Massachusetts makes it a major league hassle to cancel a registration because of a simlar rule that insured cars must be registered. It takes a juggling act between Motor Vehicle Dept and Insureance COmpany, neither of whihc are generally noted for flexibility. Then you have the expense of re-registering your car, more expensive that keeping the registration. If you ar paying insurance by six month or year period, you may gt a surcharge for dropping it too soon (doesn't apply if you are insured month-to-month).

Bottom line, in some states it is a major hassle and cannot be timed to the day (or even week - you'll not have the use of your car for a few days or risk not getting everything canceled by your start date) and may even cost the same or more.

Biggest savings is what Solemates did about housing. No rent and no utilities. If you can swing that, you will be miles ahead of the game.

For early starters, don't forget to file income tax before you go!

UCONNMike
12-10-2004, 12:45
"Beat the system"? You mean cheat? You mean shirk you're obligations and make creditors go without what's rightfully their's while you take a 6 month vacation?

BTW, in some states, it's against the law to have an uninsured vehicle registered in your name, even if it's up on blocks and in storage.

In most states, it's against the law to obtain someone else's services (such as cell phone service), intending not to pay for them.

How about saving up the money necessary to pay your bills while on your hike and then appointing a trusted friend or relative "power of attorney" to pay your bills while you're gone? :-?

Or, you could just skip on tabs at restaurants along the way.
Hey, relax there Mr, Magnum PI, if you had cleary read thru my posts you would have seen that I'm looknig for ways to suspend service on my car insurance and cell phone plan, I really dotn wanna pay for stuff i dont have to while I'm on the trail. Of course this isnt something youhave to think about since you arent a thru-hiker, so realx a bit and dont be jealous of my thorough planning. I'm trying to have all my bases covered so I dont need to rely heavly on other to handle my finances. So Hola-Back to that!
-Freakin Typical _______!

zenribbits
12-10-2004, 13:09
If you want out of your cell phone contract, your best bet is to check and see if you can get a PO box in an area that is not covered by your cell phone. I once heard from a TMoble employee that if you can prove you live in an uncovered area, they let you out of your contract. I don't approve of this practice or know if it is true. It is lying and cheating as C.Coyle has so succulently stated. You signed a contract and are saying that you want to break that contract because you want to go on vacation for half a year. Why donít you just drop down to the lowest plan they have, or use your phone to call family when you stop in towns? Your family may be willing to split the bill with you while you are out if you promise to call them every four or five days. (Your Pís $10, GrandPís $10, Aunt and Uncle $10, YOU $50 = $80 or nationwide coverage with a crap load of minutes.) If they are not, then do what Footslogger suggested and contact your carrier and work something out with them. As for your car insurance, Put your car in storage. If you canít handle paying storage insurance while on your hike, you probably haven't done enough research and planning to make the hike and after words a comfortable success. Switching insurance carriers will keep you in the higher risk bracket regardless of your driving record. Since you are 21 I am sure it is already outrageous. When I placed my truck in storage, it ended up being something like 20% of what it would be when I was driving it. I don't think you will find many people on here will approve of you tarnishing the through hikers image in the eyes of society.

Since you asked this question, I propose a few more things you should keep in mind when planning your finances and dealing with your father. Perhaps this is why you are getting so much ďpressureĒ from him on the issue.

1.) Permits and lodging for the trail (how are you going to pay for them? Lodging can be worked off sometimes, but not always)

2.) Mail drop and in town restocking of supplies (Postage is expensive and in town prices are unknown until you get there.)

3.) Equipment needed that you still do not have. (are we talking a new pair of boots or your first pack? Each holds a completely different message when you are asking for equipment for Christmas.)

4.) Rent, deposit, utilities, car insurance and payment for three months after the trail for lodging and employment search (I recommend an average of $3000)

5.) Health insurance coverage. (You are more likely than not going to need some sort of medical treatment by the end of your trip. I say this because the nature of your posts indicate a fair amount of inexperience when it comes to long distance hiking.)

6.) Transportation to and from the trail (either someone is going to have to drive you out and pick you up, or your going to have to fork some money over to greyhound)



You are talking about planning more than a year of your life in less than five months. (five months till April, 4-5 months on the trail, 3 months after.) It is really starting to sound like you would be better off taking another year to plan and save for this. It is the 80-20 rule. (80% planning and 20% execution. If you complete your 80% of planning and come short on the 20% of execution, you can still have a successful hike. If you only do 40% of the planning then how will you achieve your goal?)

zenribbits
12-10-2004, 13:20
My Apologies, I thought you had stated you were planning on leaving this April, but I seem to be mistaken as you have an "in planning" icon next to your name and I donít see that in your post. Kindly disregard the trying to plan your next year in five months portion of my post. I was wrong.

The Solemates
12-10-2004, 13:23
You can't do this in some states. If a car is registered, it must be insured. Massachusetts makes it a major league hassle to cancel a registration because of a simlar rule that insured cars must be registered. It takes a juggling act between Motor Vehicle Dept and Insureance COmpany, neither of whihc are generally noted for flexibility. Then you have the expense of re-registering your car, more expensive that keeping the registration. If you ar paying insurance by six month or year period, you may gt a surcharge for dropping it too soon (doesn't apply if you are insured month-to-month).

Bottom line, in some states it is a major hassle and cannot be timed to the day (or even week - you'll not have the use of your car for a few days or risk not getting everything canceled by your start date) and may even cost the same or more.

Biggest savings is what Solemates did about housing. No rent and no utilities. If you can swing that, you will be miles ahead of the game.

For early starters, don't forget to file income tax before you go!

i always file my income taxes as soon as my income info is available is december or january, so that was no problem.

I have to say that it was quite a hassle dealing with the whole car ordeal. Just before the AT however, we went on our honeymoon. thus, we basically did not need a car 1 month prior to our hike as well, so we decided to drop it. i spent endless days working out all of life's details so that we could thru-hike. it was a mess, but it was worth it.

i am glad to see this thread on WB. i wish i had someone to walk me through some of the questions when I was planning. there are many more other than insurance. Of course, I was planning our thru for like 3 years, so I had a while to think about it and research my options.

The Solemates
12-10-2004, 13:28
UCONN,

Zen's advice is right on, but dont let him scare you about planning. Planning for me was part of the fun and I reveled in it for years. If you do have signifcant planning still ahead of you, however, it still can be done between now and spring 05 when you start hiking. you may, however, need to step up your pace.

JP
12-10-2004, 13:36
ask your agent if you can insure the car for fire and theft only. This will keep your policy active and is not as expensive as full coverage.

c.coyle
12-10-2004, 14:05
Hey, relax there Mr, Magnum PI, ...

Oooh! Did I just get a trail name?

Sorry if I misunderstood you. Your message wasn't clear. "[G]et out of paying things ..." and " ...how to beat the system ..." didn't sound real good.

Car insurance? If CT lets you own an uninsured car, fine. Just make sure no one drives it while you're gone, or you could get sued for an accident that happened while you were hiking. Depending on the terms of your cell contract, you may be locked in.

gravityman
12-10-2004, 17:49
ask your agent if you can insure the car for fire and theft only. This will keep your policy active and is not as expensive as full coverage.

And only if the car is really worth insuring for fire and theft. It might not even be worth it (if you don't owe anything on it).

Last time we just cancelled our insurance and dealt with new insurance when we got back to the real world. Moving to CO would have forced that anyway. We will do something similar this time around...

Gravity

Pencil Pusher
12-10-2004, 19:51
Well it looks like if you cancel your insurance in CT, you'll eventually get a letter from the state asking for proof of insurance or they'll cancel your registration and/or suspend your license. The laws are an eyestrain to browse through and since it's not my problem, here's the whole-gobbly-gook mess for you to browse through: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/pub/Chap246.htm

I was perusing MA laws and found this amusing one (of many): http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-36.htm
Adultery holds similar penalties.

statler
12-10-2004, 20:00
A friend of mine sold his car right before he hiked two years ago. I'm keeping my truck stored with a friend and I just paid up the insurance through June...after dropping the coverage to the state minimums so it cost barely over $150. It's not possible to keep a car registered but uninsured in New York...and they do check, as a friend of mine found out.

I haven't figured out about the cell yet. I might cancel it and get a subscriber voicemailbox (which I need because I'm job hunting.) No apartment; all my stuff is in storage and I'll need to pay that bill online. I'm counting on being able to find computer access for that at least once a month...

minnesotasmith
12-10-2004, 20:42
These people have some ideas that might help:

http://cheap.typepad.com/cheapster/2004/05/living_cheap.html
http://www.simpleliving.net/resources/resource.asp?sku=BTIGHT
http://www.simpleliving.net/

Me, I live relatively simply -- no tobacco, no pets, no children yet, no gambling, no drugs, essentially no alcohol, no sporting events, few movies, no music concerts, etc. I have only moderate debts (student loans and from my marriage) that I will have largely paid down before my through-hike. I have a job that pays well and has me traveling out-of-town most of the time (where I have housing provided by my employer), so I have been able to close down my house (it's up for rent) and put my stuff in storage. My job/housing situation may not be possible for you, but there are certainly things in the first two lines of this post I'm doing that you surely could do as well, depending upon how important getting to try a thru-hike is for you. It's really just a matter of priorities for anyone not already homeless and unemployed.

Brushy Sage
12-10-2004, 21:26
While I did not complete the AT hike, the arrangements I made would have worked for a full thru hike. In case these are of any value to you:

I gave up my lease and put all my stuff in storage in an office building owned by a friend who charged me nothing, and the insurance company continued to cover the furniture in storage. Not paying rent was my biggest saving while on the trail.

I cancelled telephone and electric bills. Didn't have a cell phone so didn't have to deal with getting out of a contract.

I gave my stepdaughter power of attorney to keep my car while I was away. The insurance company worked with me to get the insurance payments timed properly.

I gave a trusted friend power of attorney as a co-signer on my bank account, to pay bills and make deposits during my absence. The bank personnel willingly worked with me, and were fascinated by my hiking venture. They could keep up with my progress through the ATM withdrawals I made along the way.

One credit card company agreed to honor my purchases and any cash advances I needed by transferring funds out of a savings account.

I purchased a prepaid telephone card before the trip, and that proved to be a valuable and practical way to make calls.

Icicle
12-28-2004, 13:14
Well it's kinda neat - in the UK you can register your car off road and not pay car tax (registration - which by the way for my car is about $220 a year) or insurance.

BUT having said that - the insurance on my car is so cheap and it's TFP (third party, fire and theft) that I am just keeping the direct debit going out of my account.

As far as other stuff - we are storing all our stuff at a friends (including my car) and all our bills stop. We have paid off our credit cards already.

As far as my student loan in the USA, I just did a forbearance online. It's for 12 months (although I am going to continue to make payments until we leave). There was only an option for 6 or 12 months. Interest does accrue while you are in forbearance, but it is nice not having to worry about them calling my mom if something goes amiss.

I will have a mobile phone (cell phone) with me, but this too is automatically taken by direct debit from my bank account. It will only be used in towns for calls to my mom in Florida and to friends/family in the UK. And email. Don't worry - I won't use it in the shelters!! ;) Hubs and I use it as a piece of our emergency kit. I considered a pay-as-you-go phone - but my contract is cheap!

As far as Taxes - you don't file in the UK - but since I am an American citizen I do have to file USA taxes. I am just waiting for the forms to come out online and the exchange rate to use and I am done. We get paid monthly here, so I have already received my last pay slip for the calandar year.

I am considering purchasing travel insurance - due to the cost of medical care in the USA. But that would probably be a one off lump sum payment (hopefully a reasonable amount as well!)

I think we are all set - once the Christmas tree comes down - we can get ready to pack up the rest of the house!